The Mike Mentzer Evolution?

Pure gold!



I think after a point that’s one reason I was never very consistent with my workouts. I found other things in life were equally if not more important and worth doing than lifting weights.

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This routine would probably be more productive even in a 3 day a week format! Thx for sharing!

In one of his chest and back programs that start with a pec-dec supersetted with incline press for 1-3 reps! Does anybody know why are lifting that heavy when reps usually range 8-15 on other lifts :thinking:?

Either trying to keep total TUL in check , or perhaps performing the incline press in a rest pause fashion.
I noticed that myself and was puzzled to why reps were so low


The incline press was normal reps. Thats how I was told to do it. More of a close grip with elbows out inline with the shoulders.

In his video he uses rest pause.

On arm day the push down/dip superset uses low reps in the dips. 3-5

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A little of topic but interesting. This past spring I bought a soloflex for less than a 100 bucks. I wanted it for chinups.

Anyway the guy I bought if from had the training booklet. One of the routines was a 3 way split.

Day 1 Chest and Back
Day 2 legs and abs
Day 3 arms and shoulders

I had at least 3 people offer me their Soloflex still in the box for free and I said no thanks . I don’t recall it having anything in it to do with chins?

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Yes you can set the bar for chinups. It’s one of the features. You can use it for dips too.You can also just use if for free weights. It can hold up to 500 pounds.

The pressing exercises are quite good with weights, The squat is not too shabby. You can run a bar through the movment are and just add weights.

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I too was a Mentzer client for several years and had a ton of conversations with him from about 1993-1998. The last time I spoke to him was in the fall of 1998. He recommended at that point I try just one compound exercise every 5-6 days (!).

The problem was/is, he thought intensity should always remain at 100% effort. He believed in this non-scientific “light switch” that supposedly turned on in the muscle cells by going to failure on the last rep (but then contradicted himself with multiple reps to failure using rest/pause). He did not believe in cycling, only layoffs and continued reduction of volume and frequency. If you keep intensity at a true 100% effort all of the time, you are almost forced to do so little work over time as the CNS gets so overwhelmed. Drug-free trainees cannot train at 100% effort on every set of every workout ‘forever’. Dr. Darden even started to recommend Not to Failure workouts in The New HIT Way book (white cover).

According to one of his business associates (Val) shortly before Mike’s passing…Mike was starting to see the flaws in the extreme consolidation thinking and was supposedly considering shying back from failure a little while recommending something like a split routine or HD1. However, Mike felt he painted himself into a corner with 100% effort all of the time so that presented a challenge for him. It didn’t help how Mike spoke in absolutes all of the time.

Personally, I have found it better by shying back from failure using a little more volume with more frequency. I also found one set per muscle can work pretty good on its own, BUT, doing it three times a week is needed. I tried this not long ago actually with a full body workout just shy of failure.


I heard this as well.


I ran Mentzers original Heavy Duty routine for about a month but me and my friends added a twist. We made each workout a full body with just am emphasis
For example the chest, delt, and tricep day we just added a set of negative chins and leg press at the end to make it more of a chest delt and tricep emphasis workout. The back workout we added negative dips and leg presses, and the leg workout we added negative chins and negative dips. I would recommend doing this program like this, it’s one of the few programs that other people noticed my results in 2 weeks doing.



Yes, one work set…As for intensifiers, On workout (A) I sometimes do bench in rest-pause fashion 1 near max followed by 10 to 15 sec. pause (4 or 5 total reps)…Workout (B) Negative-only chin-ups. Workout (C) Neg-only dips…

Johnston always struck me as nothing more than an opportunist…He was a virtual unknown, no name recognition, no competitive experience and no physique to talk about, and Mentzer took him into his fold and then he turned around and bashed Mentzer after he died…

Check out Mentzer’s underground seminar on youtube…Mentzer mentions Johnston (first time I ever heard of him and I’ve been around the game for 50 years), Seminar was in Canada and Johnston, who is Canadian, is in first row of audience and latched on to Mentzer soon after that…Respectfully, Steve…

I’m not sticking up for Brian but…

For a while they were partners. Brian explains what happened with that. It’s online someplace.

Brian is in good shape. Some of what he wrote was before Mike’s death.

He wrote wrote several books. He also give a lot of credit to Dr.Darden because for always trying new methods. Providing examples.

Check this out. #70: Brian Johnston And His Freestyle Exercise System For Optimising Muscular Development - YouTube

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Dips, Thanks for the links and info…Love to know what happened to their partnership…But let’s face it, without Mike Mentzer, Brian Johnston never really gets his name in the game…

.I’ve followed the sport (if U can call it that) since 1968, it wasn’t until well after Mentzer wrote the revised Heavy Duty I and Heavy Duty II, that Johnston just appeared on the scene…He rode the coat tails of Jones, Darden and Mentzer…

I first learned about Johnston by hearing Dr. McGuff talk about J-Reps. After that, he got some attention on Dr. Darden’s old board with other ideas, like High Density Training, Zone Training, etc. He seems like a creative guy when it came to trying out new things. But he always struck me as someone who had remained somewhat obscure because he didn’t know how to effectively market his ideas, and sell a lot of books.

I was kind of surprised learn, much later on, that he had been involved with Mentzer.

Perhaps he is an opportunist, but maybe not a very good one. :grinning:

That doesn’t mean he was wrong about Mentzer not having good records to back of his claims of amazing progress by clients. Lots of people have pointed out that gap.

The one link is very long but it’s all in there. Plus other things. I don’t think they spend a lot of time talking about Mike. Some of it was on Dr.Darden old forum

The pdf is what Brian is refering too. And some of his and others findings. IT shold answer all you questions.

One thing about Mentzer is that for a short time he worked for Arthur Jones. His Hd1 and HD2 split routines are just divided Arthur Jones fullbody body routines.

Dips, thanks again for the link…Just digging into it now…
Without a doubt, Mentzer was heavily influenced by Jones. And Mike was always quick to give him credit. I know Mike and Ray and Boyer Coe worked for Jones for a brief period in the 80s.
Mike was the first Mr. America and Mr. Universe winner, besides Casey (I believe Casey never won Universe), that was a true proponent of Jones’ teachings.
After his competitive career, Mike developed an unswerving passion to perfect Jones’ methodology.
He found with himself and his clients the 3 times a week full-body workouts soon led to overtraining.
He methodically lowered the volume and frequency because he saw his clients were not gaining consistently. I believe Mike’s passion and integrity were of the highest accord.
He was truly devoted to finding a way to bring his clients their best progress.
Did he err along the way, of course.
But for some to suggest he was crazy or unhinged because he was experimenting and trying to improve on what he believed was the best system is sheer nonsense.
Still, 20 years after his death, he still ignites a passion in all who train.
We should all have such a profound influence on people…Respectfully, Steve…

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I don’t think that has anything to do with why people say he was crazy or unhinged . It was more the way he was acting towards the end like smoking cigarets the Way he was acting and The Crazy stuff he was saying in conversations etc.